Burnout. It happens to the best of us. See enough of any thing, and eventually, you may not want to look at anything that looks like something you think you’ve already seen. Lots and lots of companies make what some companies are now calling modern sporting rifles in the AR-15 pattern, and as you can expect from the world’s largest shooting industry show, SHOT was packed with them. I’d seen seemingly countless AR-15 MSRs on Thursday, and barely spared a glance when I was walking by yet another booth with AR-15 style rifles and some distance guns. It was lunchtime, I was tired, and my eyes were glazing over a bit.
Then a lovely young lady practically grabbed me, and asked if she could sign a poster for me. Well, sure, I need a picture of a pretty brunette from SHOT (I had to do it, honey! It was for Shooting Reviews, and I was just being polite). While I waited for “Miss Bad News” to finish signing the poster, I grabbed some literature, then thanked the nice young lady and headed for the eggplant pizza at Otto that would give me food poisoning.
Sometime over the miserable next few days, I looked again at the handout from Noreen Firearms, and realized that I was looking at a long-action AR-10-style rifle. Suddenly, I was interested. The AR-15 MSR from a good manufacturer is an inherently accurate rifle, but previous AR-15s have only tended to come in 5.56x45mm/.223 length, or the heavier .308/7.62x51mm (AR-10) style. Noreen’s BN36 will be offered in the popular long-action calibers of .25-06, .270, and .30-06- and the basic rifle only weighs 8 lbs!
I called Noreen with some follow-up questions. The recent buying panic caused by the actions of mentally ill killers and gun-hating politicians taking advantage of human tragedy has resulted in extremely long back-order times for all types of MSRs. There was also the question of price- the BN36 might drive tacks at 900 meters and then cook the shooter lunch, but if it’s priced more than the family car, not many people will buy one.
The BN36 has a suggested retail of $1795 for all three calibers. Rifles will begin shipping in April. Orders placed now should ship in August, and Noreen will ship directly to dealers as well as distributors. The BN36 5 or 10-round mags are proprietary, and will sell for $65. If the BN36 delivers the quality I hope, shooters will have a very reasonably priced, lightweight AR-style MSR available in calibers that will let them take heavy US big game, or varmints at extreme range.
Noreen also has a piston semi-automatic .338 Lapua, which they call Bad News. At 13 lbs, I have a .308 MSR that weighs more. It retails for $6000.
Noreen also has a line of single-shot bolt action distance rifles they call the ULR, in .338 Lapua, .408 Chey Tac, .416 Barrett, and the venerable .50 BMG. The big fifty has a extremely reasonable suggested retail of $2600, with other calibers $300 more. It comes with goodies like a Timney trigger and collapsible stock.
If you’re like me, you had not heard of Noreen Firearms previously. I have high hopes we’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the future.